The initiative Neighborhood Task Force relates to the MAP Initiative 2, (Fostering Collaboration) because as quoted form a local citizen “We are all part of the solution. [Do not] expect others to do it for us. Work together.” If we are going to make a difference, we need to make bettering our community our responsibility. It relates specifically to Action 3, (Create a robust volunteer program) by creating a list of neighborhood residents that want to help and make a difference in the community; they can be contacted to help with projects. It is important to keep people involved before they lose interest. Some community members established that there is a need for a group of people that can help others in the community, and this is the initiative that looks to create that group of individuals.
Why this is important
This initiative was given a low priority by the residents and students. The Neighborhood Task Force Initiative is established to help community members that no longer have the ability to complete the work on their own. This issue was brought up at the January Industry Neighborhood meeting.
This initiative is important because it will establish opportunities for community members to help each other. It will also be a contact for people to ask questions and get answers to various homeownership issues.
What this will involve
In order for this initiative to take place, a comprehensive list of individuals that want to help others in the community needs to be compiled. From there, different tasks and projects need to be established. A couple of the partners that would be beneficial to work with would be the Departments of Public Works and Parks and Recreation.
Any individual could be in charge of the Neighborhood Task Force Initiative; it would be in best interest if it were someone with good organizational skills as well as the knowledge on how to fix different issues within a house. A way they could be held accountable is by giving a “report” at different neighborhood meetings and letting members know when different clean up days and activities were going to take place. A variety of individuals from the neighborhood association could request or add to a list of tasks that could be done within the neighborhood such as clean up days, mowing of seniors yards, general upkeep that some member no longer are able to physically do. This can be a continuing list that the leader of the initiative holds on to and sets up the days the neighborhood task force goes out and accomplishes a few of these tasks. Preferably the task force would accomplish a few every month and report back the progress that they are making.
Department of Community Development
300 N. High St. City Hall
Muncie, IN 47305-1639
Phone: (765) 747-4825
Fax: (765) 747-4898
Contact: Ms. Terry Whitt Bailey, Director
Case Study One
In New Bedford, Massachusetts Mayor Jon Mitchell created the Neighborhood Task Force in order to bring nuisance properties up to code. He created this during his State of the City Address in 2013. The Task Force is made up of members of several different city departments as well as citizens from the community. These members meet regularly to conduct sweeps through neighborhoods to identify nuisance properties. Several high crime lots have been shut down and boarded up. “Trash strewn lots have been cleaned and absentee owners have been sent the bill.” The different city departments help pay for the program, including the building, police, health and fire departments.
Case Study Two
The Hyde Square Task Force was founded in the late 1980’s and puts on programs and civic engagement activities developed by youth and residents in response to community needs, although youth is at the heart of their focus. The Hyde Square Task Force is much like a neighborhood organization, but they do a lot of great things for the community that can be replicated in the Industry Neighborhood. Since the founding of the task force, they help more than 1,200 kids every year. They not only help kids advance in school and in careers, but it also gives them opportunities to take pride and action in their community. This two-fold approach better helps the cohesion of the community. They have dozens of partners in the immediate neighborhood, but also throughout the entire city of Boston that help fund the organization. They have received multiple awards for their accomplishments in the neighborhood.